Friday, February 12, 2016

Raising Greatful Kids...A Book Review

As I watch my adult kids make parenting choices in the midst of technology mine fields and as I realize what the current culture would like to feed to my grand kids, this book was a very timely and relevant read. 

Entitlement: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something.(Meriam-Webster online).

Author Kristen Welch, shares her family’s journey away from entitlement to new perspectives of serving others, working hard and making gratitude the goal. It’s a counter-cultural journey against a society that pursues happiness at all costs and allows child-centered homes in the process.  For Kristen, the biggest goal in life is to love God and love others more than ourselves.  She warns us that pursuing this goal isn’t “normal” and opposition is certain.

It starts with parents dealing with their own entitlement, and modeling gratitude. Absolute truth based on the Bible’s principles and making good personal choices are essential ingredients in growing this kind of family. Kristen discovered that training up a child in “the way he should go” (Prov. 3:6 )could mean that it's not how righteously a parent sows good into their children, but how a parent neglects training them in godliness and lets the child go his OWN way. In that case, a child may never turn from his own human natural sinfulness.

Because many parents are in the position of being able to give their kids more than they need, it’s hard not to pamper children.  When a parent feels guilt because of busyness or divorce, or doesn’t want their kids to feel left out or unhappy, they may overindulge.  Parents long for their kids to be their friends. Kristen says, "Kid's aren't meant to be our friends until they are independent of us." p. 53.

The section on making smart choices about technology devices and usage is very helpful.  Parents need to stay current on what is trending and set not only usage boundaries but teach kids what is good and what is bad about social media and internet access. Technology access has to involve active parenting so the parent can lead with purpose rather than letting the culture lead with what is popular. 

The last two sections of the book lay out a plan for establishing a God-centered home that is other-focused, balanced in grace and discipline, and filled with gratitude. Kristen has started a non-profit called, Mercy House, which ministers to women around the globe. Her emphasis on service as a means to bring perspective to children and a larger worldview is a reoccurring theme in the book.

In the last chapter, Kristen, warns parents that intentionally training children to be grateful in our self-centered culture will be difficult and kids will feel different than many of their peers. A discussion guide and several appendices are found at the back of the book, including a cell phone contract between parent and child. For any parent who wants to take on the challenge of overcoming entitlement attitudes, let this excellent, current resource start you on your journey!
This book was given from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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